Michael Tanner has a few things to say about big government "Conservatives". Let me start off with a headline:
Then how about some meat:
Despite their repeated threats to stay home if Republicans deviated from a commitment to conservative social issues, it wasn’t the Religious Right that deserted Republicans in 2008 (or 2006, for that matter). Turnout among self-described members of the Religious Right remained steady from 2004 to 2008, and these voters remained loyally Republican. Roughly 70 percent of white evangelicals and born-again Christians voted Republican in 2006, and 74 percent in 2008, essentially in line with how they have been voting for the past two or three decades.Here is my take on that. Let me start with one of my favorites:
It was suburbanites, independents, and others who were fed up with the Republican drift toward big government who stayed home — or, worse, voted Democratic in 2008. Republicans carried the suburbs in both 2000 (49 to 47) and 2004 (52 to 47), but in 2008, suburban voters — notably wealthy, college-educated professionals, many of whom consider themselves moderate on social issues but economically conservative — voted for Barack Obama by a margin of 50 to 48. The switch among voters in the suburbs of Columbus, Charlotte, and Indianapolis, for instance, was largely responsible for moving Ohio, North Carolina, and Indiana into the Democratic column. Democrats also continued their gains in the more independent, libertarian West.
And guess what? The libertarian West is anti-prohibition (just look at California). Doesn't give a rats ass about gay marriage. And they think that government has no place in their or their mate's vaginas.
Now are they a majority? Hell no. Are they the people who swing elections? Hell yes.
If the Rs go back to their culture war ways they will deserve to lose. I promise you this: I will vote Republican in the next election, probably the one after. But if the Rs get all Culture War on me I'm going to speak against them every chance I get. Just to ruin their days. Kind of like a bad haircut only worse. Because a bad haircut lasts only a few weeks. I promise to last as long as it takes to destroy them politically.
I'm a proud member of The Leave Us The F* Alone Coalition. I am not interested in government improvement or uplift. If any one is going to improve or uplift me it is going to be me.
Mr. Tanner has written a book:
Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservativism Brought Down the Republican Revolution
I found the reviews (mostly written in 2007) interesting from a historical perspective. Here is a good one:
Odysseus "A Traveller" (Virginia, USA)I intend to do my best to drive a stake through the heart of Republican Socialism and do my best to destroy Progressive Conservatives. If they stick with their claim that they are for limited government and fiscal responsibility and act on it, I'm with them. If not I'm going to be agin them. They could start with the Federal Drug War at $25 billion a year and go from there.
Mike Tanner's book provides a valuable service for those believers in limited government who have been left wondering what happened to their values during a period of Republican control of both the legislative and executive branches of government.
Tanner explores and explains the roots of "big-government conservatism," influential thinkers within the Republican tent that were never really believers in limited government to begin with. Instead, these groups, which included religious conservatives, so-called "neoconservatives," "national greatness conservatives," and followers of former Speaker Newt Gingrich, among others, did not seek to arrest the growth of government so much as to direct it towards ends of which they approved. "Conservatism" thus came to mean many things unrelated to limiting the reach of government, encompassing the likes of Pat Buchanan and Gary Bauer, who spoke of conservative social values, but who often opposed addressing the factors (such as the increasing cost of federal entitlement programs) that cause government to grow. The goal of many of these thinkers (Gingrich being a prime example) was not to restrict the size of government, but to bolt new programs whose design they favored, on top of the old ones.
H/T Eric of Classical Values via e-mail
Cross Posted at Classical Values